C is for Crafts: Simple May Day Baskets
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Those of you who have been following Ava’s Alphabet for awhile may know that I take some serious heat from my husband for being a “saver”. I have been keeping a nice little stash of recycled strawberry boxes on hand for special projects. Last spring I showed you how to make a strawberry box greenhouse for sprouting your own seeds. This year I am back with a quick and simple tutorial on how to make a darling May Day basket using – you guessed it – recycled strawberry boxes. May Day is coming up soon on May 1st and these cute little baskets are a great way to surprise a friend, neighbor, teacher or loved one with a little spring gift. Are you ready to learn how to make your own simple May Day baskets? Here we go:
The tradition of May Day dates back to the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in American history although its true roots trace back to the European pagan festival of spring, Beltane. The May Day basket tradition in the United States has evolved to represent kindness, giving or romantic interest. As tradition goes, a May Day basket is hung on the doorknob of a friend or neighbor secretively on May 1st. Getting caught during delivery is bad luck, so baskets are left quickly with a knock on the door as the deliverer quickly runs away. Early versions of May Day baskets included paper cones filled with hand picked flowers and penny candy. More modern baskets contains flowers, candy or small gifts. I chose to fill mine with a small hand-tied bouquet of flowers, a small box of candy, a tube of luxurious hand cream and a homemade paper pinwheel. Although the practice of leaving a May Day basket seems to have mostly faded away, it sure seems like the world could use a little more plain and simple kindness and thoughtfulness. Perhaps we should revive this sweet tradition?
Recycled plastic strawberry containers
Wide ribbon or tulle
Small bouquet of flowers, candy and/or small gifts
Wash out your recycled strawberry boxes and dry them off gently. Using your scissors carefully cut the lid off of each container ensuring that the cut edge is smooth and has no sharp pieces. You will need one strawberry box for each basket you plan to make.
Use your scissors to lengthen each vent in the sides of the box to accommodate the ribbon.
Starting in the middle of one of the long sides of the box, weave the ribbon in and out of each vent until you have made it all the way around the box. Tie the ribbon in a bow on the front of the box and trim the ends of the ribbon on an angle for a finished look. Some alternatives to ribbon to decorate your May Day basket might be strips of colorful paper, tulle, fabric strips, washi tape or tissue paper. What else might you weave through the vents of the box? Maybe just filling it with brightly colored shredded paper would be cute?
Cut another long length of ribbon to create the handle. Tie each end through the vents on the short sides of the box and knot securely. On one of my baskets, I used a strip of tulle for the handle instead of ribbon. Be creative!
Line the box with coordinating tissue paper or fabric and fill with flowers, candy or small gifts. Be mindful of how you balance the contents of the box as you don’t want it to be too heavy on any one side to prevent tipping or spilling. Give it a test run on a door knob in your own house before you attempt any stealthy deliveries!
And there you have it! A simple May Day basket made from a recycled plastic strawberry box. These little baskets can really be used all year long as a thrify and creative way to package small gifts. Teacher Appreciation week and Mother’s Day are both coming up soon!
Share your thoughts about the May Day tradition. Have you ever made or received May Day baskets? What was in it and who was it from? I would love to hear about your experiences with this tradition in the comment section. I hope you consider surprising a friend or loved with some cute little May Day baskets this year just for fun. Wishing you all a happy May Day, my friends! Xoxo, -Cristina
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